July 20, 2012

New Pony

It feels so worthless to write the words “he feels incredible,” over and over again when I’ve used them to describe him in the past, because now  is different.  I need video!  My trainer’s training, even with just two rides, is so obvious that it’s almost like he’s a different horse, and it required some adjustments on my part.

First, she gave me a new rule: I’m not to get on him without a whip, ever.  She says he is training me to overuse my leg aid within the gaits, and the difference with the whip really is amazing.  In the past, the whip has worried him to the point that like, Cathy told me to drop it in the clinic in May.   But it’s clear now that it’s a necessary aid, and one that requires a lot of tact to use with such a sensitive horse.  She had me tap-tap him at times, and told me to remain as relaxed as possible if he overreacted and shot forward.  Suddenly, I had a lovely forward horse that wasn’t running away, but contained.

Connor, sleeping in the crossties pre-ride.
Second, she had me give him more rein and focus on pushing him into the bridle from behind, as he’s tended to get curled under lately.  Thinking about the reins being sticks with which I need to push the bit, like with Adagio while doing XC last fall, helped a lot.  There was a half-lap of the arena during this point in the lesson in which he was going around at a perfectly regulated, self-carried trot last night and I just had the biggest grin on my face.  

See the weird hair growth pattern?
Finally, we worked on the canter, and it’s clear that doing it well on him is going to require me to develop a level of feel I don’t currently have.  We spent the first half of the lesson working on getting the correct bend at the walk and trot using 10m circles and shoulder fore on the rail, because it’s the bend (or lack thereof) that’s killing us in our canter transitions.  Later, we graduated to using the idea of the leg yield to push him toward the rail with my inside leg at the girth, outside leg slightly back, then an activated outside leg to push his hindquarters slightly in/bend him through the ribcage, then a cue from the inside leg to tell him to canter.  He was HOT off my aids, and even threw a buck in once.  I kept getting cross-canters due to my bend being a problem, but by the end we’d gotten several decent transitions and worked on keeping the reins short to keep him contained in the canter itself.

I am SO excited about this!


  1. I LOVE those breakthroughs! Keep it up!

  2. You have a great trainer. I really like how she thinks.
    I carry a whip with Comrade for the same reason. They are sounding more and more alike. You definitely need a video:)